Tonight’s Fun: Dirty Dancing

Since adults sometimes have trouble having fun and pleasure (especially adult women I have noticed have this problem) I have decided to create a new category for my blog, “The Point of Life is to Enjoy.” With these posts I plan to chronicle what’s fun in my life. I’ll post to encourage myself to seek out fun and pleasure while I encourage you to find it in your own life. Feel free to comment and tell me your fun. 

 

She’s like the wind

There was no hesitation on my part when I saw the ad for an outdoor showing of Dirty Dancing  in Buenos Aires. I clicked “going” and invited my Colombian friend Ale. I didn’t know if Ale had ever seen Dirty Dancing but we both dance tango and Dirty Dancing is the ultimate dance transformation movie so I wanted to share it with her. Dirty Dancing came out in 1987. I’m willing to guess that I saw it at least five times when I was a teenager and I’m pretty sure I saw it again at an adult slumber party. It is a classic and must be shared.

The event was Cine in the Garden at Congo Centro Cultural, a salon for music and a jungle garden for movies and other events like around the world in 80s music, or funk, or a jazz sextet. The place is, as they say in Spanish, preciosa, or divina. Modern chic interior that opened to a tropical garden with comfortable wooden benches and a waitress taking food and cocktail orders. I ordered a mojito!

Dirty Dancing surprised me by how much it stood the test of time. The movie is such a physical, sensual movie of awakening. It’s eternally pleasurable to watch Baby go from awkward to confident, playful and sexy when she puts lipstick on while practicing dancing outside by the staff quarters.

Now that I dance tango I see the dance teaching by Patrick Swayze’s character as spot on. His teachings about balance, the frame, and feeling the music as a heartbeat are all transformative lessons of dance.

“Too romantic,” Ale said, wrinkling her nose, but it was very funny. Sexy too. It’s fun to watch the hyper-romanticism of a 17-year-old. Baby is so courageous with her feelings. Inspiring! What if I was that bold with telling a man how I feel in my forties? It’s easy to get scared and guarded as we get older.

I don’t get the feeling that Baby and Johnny will get married but they changed each other’s lives for the better. A short relationship can be life-changing too. The movie’s got the romance, dance, youthful naivete, goofy characters, critique of classism and of sexism, of living without legal abortion. Dirty Dancing, I am prepared to argue, may be the most fun movie ever. Man Dirty Dancing really has it all.

I heartily recommend watching again especially with a big group of other women who cheer when Patrick Swayze says, “Nobody puts baby in the corner.”

Awakening the inner dancer in nature

Touching dance lesson scene

Do you want a big dose of fun and adventure in your life? Whether you come on your own or with a friend, fun is available to you.  Check out the Sola Chica Tangasm. That’s my new way of helping you have an amazing transformative experience in Buenos Aires through tango. 

Feeling Flat?

“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”–Toni Morrison

I wrote this post for my American readers but it equally applies to Brazilians who have an important election coming up . . . and really all of you. Forgive the U.S. references if you are not from the U.S. but I also want to address my fellow American readers.

What we just experienced in the Dr. Christine Blasey Ford/Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings in the U.S. was enough to make any sentient/sensitive human being want to crawl into a hole for a very long time. That and the bad news any given day could flatten you.

In my coaching practice I have noticed the word “flat” has come up a number of times with a number of clients. Not all my clients have used the word but I also sense it myself. How could all this division, fear, and horrible-ness not affect us on a personal level? How much bad news to absorb? What to do in response? There is anger and what do you do with that anger?

When we feel overwhelmed we switch off our emotions to avoid being inundated. In the overwhelm there comes a numbness, a checking-out, a zoning-out as a kind of self-protection.

I notice more people complaining that they are watching too much Netflix at night. Escape. This is not true for everyone I talk to but I also feel it in the air–the moment has a powerful demotivating quality. I find myself fending off numbness when scrolling through my Facebook feed. I felt the flatness encroach. The flatness is that feeling of defeat. That feeling of why bother?

I also hear about people activating. Friends are volunteering who have never volunteered before. People are canvassing – going door to door – for local candidates who never canvassed before.

The best way I know for how to spring out of flatness is to connect with others and get into action taking a stand for something you believe in. Whether that’s registering to vote, volunteering, or doing your own good work for the world, whatever that may be.

Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher who powerfully yelled at Jeff Flake as he was standing in the elevator shows us how individuals matter. Those women should be remembered in this history books. When they yelled at Jeff Flake, “Look at me when I’m talking to you” they were demanding that he SEE us. They likely moved him to vote for an investigation of sexual assault charges against Kavanaugh.

Even if that investigation didn’t turn out to be as deep as it should have been the image of a sexual assault survivor screaming to a senator saying “Look at me, don’t look away!” was powerful. That image will be one I’ll remember for a long time.

Ana and Maria reminded us that individuals really can make a difference.

For my male readers. I have talked to a number of men about #metoo. These are men who I consider quirky, sensitive, and supportive of women. They too were more immediately worried about being falsely accused of sexual assault than of our culture normalizing the abuse and harassment of women. I invite you all, ladies and gentlemen, and especially the men, to watch this brilliant talk by Trevor Noah. He cops to secretly feeling worried about being accused for something he didn’t do and about why it’s important to stay focused on the larger story unfolding here.

Please don’t give up.

Be sure you are registered. Here are the deadlines for every state.
Get off social media and use your hands and your creativity. Send handwritten postcards to voters.
Find a local candidate you admire and help him or her. You will meet others who are activated and of like mind. Volunteering can be good for the soul.
Volunteer to make phone calls from home now or on the last weekend before the election when it’s all-important Get Out the Vote time.

Vote for people who express your values. Vote your conscience.

This is a critical moment.

Teaching Pussywalking in Puritanical Rhode Island

post-pussywalking in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. See the glow?!

 

Pussywalking isn’t about sex per se. It’s about the vitality and power of letting our sexual energy flow through our bodies.

In August while I was in Rhode Island I taught pussywalking at Elizabeth Robinson’s outdoor dance workshop in South Kingstown, Rhode Island to a group of women and one brave man (who talked about his cockwalking!). Yes there is cockwalking too. We’ll get to that later.

Teaching pussywalking in Rhode Island (where I grew up) was a powerful experience because of the area’s history. Puritan theologian Roger Williams founded Rhode Island in 1636 as a haven for religious liberty.

Rhode Island began as a state of tolerance — and it’s long been a haven for artsy, quirky types. But I can tell you as a daughter of Rhode Island I always felt uncomfortable talking about sex when I was growing up. Even the word is more uncomfortable to say.

Modesty encroaches in places with Puritanical histories. Is the energy baked in the walls of the New England architecture? Is it the legacy of the Salem witch trials? I really don’t know but all I know is I feel more careful about how I dress, what I talk about, and what I say when I go home to Rhode Island.

Keeping up my healthy level of sexual expression takes more energy in New England than say, in the Bay Area or Buenos Aires.

The women at the workshop told me they feel the shutdown too. One young mother joked that her children love twerking. She does too! She loves to dance, and why not twerk with the kids? Her husband was not comfortable with her twerking with the children! Raising kids with healthy ideas about sexuality is a whole other topic . . . but really, where’s the harm in a little twerking?

So we all had a LOT of fun pussywalking together.

Every time I teach pussywalking live and in person we discover something new together. This time we all noticed the mischievous smiles of the women as they walked.

To learn more about pussywalking, watch the videos here. And be sure to sign up for the special pussywalking newsletter on that page to stay connected.

Would you be safer walking down the street pussywalking?

As women we walk out on to the street nervous, checking out who is around and if it’s safe to walk around. One woman I recently shared pussywalking with suggested, and I agreed, that we might feel safer when we occupy our pussies as we walk. When we pussywalk, our posture naturally lifts, we become bigger and we radiate a confidence.  Pussywalking can get attention from men and women but when we pussywalk we are sending attention from an empowered place. That pussywalking confidence can have an aura of “back off.” I’m here, I’m pussywalking, salute me respectfully, but don’t get in my way.

Later I talked with some women in California who told me that when she inhabited her pussy she also felt stronger and more present.

Watch these videos for that conversation.

I have two next steps that would be amazing from these conversations:
1) Social science researchers could do a study on how pussywalking affects reactions (and harassment) on the street. Pussywalking is the female power pose so let’s look at whether it makes a difference in perceptions of safety, courage, and reactions.
2) Pussywalking would be a great addition to self-defense classes. Self-defense workshops teach women to use their voices when they are attacked. Sacred sexuality workshops teach that when you open up your pussy energy your voice grows louder too. There are definitely some pussywalking-self-defense connections for us to explore.

If you haven’t seen the original pussywalking videos, you must. Here they are.

You’re going to want reminders and inspiration to pussywalk so sign up for the special pussywalking newsletter too.

Onward.

xo

Sasha

Dear Sasha: Will I Regret Being Quirkyalone in the Future?

photo by Natalia Brasil

Dear Sasha,
I’m 27, and I’m so thrilled to be a quirkyalone. I think it makes for a far more conscious, expressive and spontaneous life. Quirkyalonedom rules! But I struggle with thinking about what quirkyalonedom will be like in the future. How will it feel when I’m 50…70? Will the “this rules!” feeling that this is how life is meant to be lived dull over time? Will I look fondly on my quirkyalone twenties but think of myself as being naive to the future?
Thanks for the newsletter and the thoughts. Im happy to be part of it.
Alex
+++

Hi Alex, Thanks for writing in with this excellent question. You sent this question two years ago and it took me two years to answer you because the question is so profound I only wanted to answer you when I was good and ready.

The first question I have for you is, What does quirkyalone mean to you?

To me, the essence of being quirkyalone is being true to yourself.

It’s hard to imagine how you can ever go wrong when you are true to yourself.

Being quirkyalone includes the possibility of being quirkytogether. So you really can’t go wrong when you stay true to your north star.

On the other hand, lots can go wrong when you lose touch with yourself: you might regret staying in a marriage with someone you’re not in love with because of your fear of loneliness, staying for years in a job you don’t believe in, or not taking the chance to express yourself to people you love.

What do people regret when they are on their deathbeds? Bronnie Ware is a palliative care nurse who spent years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She published a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, and the most common regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Another common regret: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”

From an exhibit “Signs of Regret” in Washington DC based on Bronnie Ware’s book exploring regrets of the dying

Back to your pitch-perfect question. Is it possible to be naive about the future in your twenties? Sure, we are all naive when we are in our twenties. That’s the nature of being twentysomething. You don’t know yet what’s to come because you’re not there yet.

When I was in my twenties, I remember feeling that life was like Christmas Eve. The best was always to come and I didn’t have to make any limiting decisions yet. I remember an older man telling me at a party that I would not feel so romantic about being quirkyalone in my thirties. At the time I thought he was a jerk but when I got into my thirties, I thought, you know, he was right. My mid-thirties brought some rocky times. When I hit my mid-thirties most of my friends were getting married, buying homes, and having children. I wondered where I stood with all those life milestones and if I was being left behind.

Now I know that I wasn’t alone. The mid- to late-30s can be a stressful, dark passageway of the soul for single women–especially if you might want to have children but haven’t found a partner. People are starting to call this trend “social infertility” and it’s a problem that doesn’t get much attention. We only have so much time to find a partner and we have to decide. There are forks in the road: especially, have children or not. By 39, it can feel like time to pull the red alarm.

Men face their own pressures but men don’t usually perceive themselves as having the same biological clock pressure or “expiration date” in dating.

But just because life doesn’t happen on the prescribed timeline doesn’t mean life won’t happen. I wish I could have soothed my 35-year-old self from the position of where I stand now. I was really terrified about being aged out of the dating pool and being unloved for the rest of my life. I also worried my life would get dull without children, but that hasn’t been true at all. If anything my life has gotten more rewarding and my mother-friends convey their admiration for my more varied “selfish”(self-ful) life. (They love their children, but there are tradeoffs.)

I am proud of my life because I have been very intentional about my choices. I dug deep to ask myself what really matters and acted accordingly, even when it meant surfing with massive amounts of self-doubt. But because I am always checking in with myself on the why of what I’m doing at the deepest level I have no regrets. Here I’m talking about big decisions like where I put my creative energy, whether to be a self-employed entrepreneur or take the safer path of a job, the relationships I choose to invest in, and where I live.

If you don’t find someone to marry and have children by the end of your thirties turning the page into your forties may be a relief. If you were ambivalent about having children and it didn’t happen, now it’s no longer an option. There’s freedom in that clarity. You can go forward not scrutinizing every date to see if he will be “the one” to pop out a baby in the next two years–that’s a lot of pressure for dating! If the kids and marriage thing don’t happen, your forties can be a kind of rebirth. (I’m not saying this is easy. Many people go through grief over not having children and luckily there’s Jody Day’s Gateway Women community to help with releasing the grief.)

Then come the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and who knows how long? I haven’t gotten to my fifties yet but I asked some of my newsletter subscribers to respond to your question and I love the nuanced responses I got from older women.

Leslie said:I turned 71 on October the 6th. I live on Cape Cod with my three elderly dachshunds and I am truly a Quirkyalone and have been since 1976 when I divorced my husband of only 6 years. I left him in Minneapolis and drove back to New England with a four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, $100 in my pocket, no job, and no place to live. The rest is a very long story and I am now a grandmother of two, work part-time in the car business, sing in Sweet Adeline, an a cappella chorus, own a small dog-sitting business, am a hospice volunteer, and take courses in anything that interests me and am never lonely. 

I have had four or five serious relationships over the years but none ended in marriage. To the young lady who wrote you I truly believe that keeping your heart open may lead you to the perfect person but if not, a very satisfying life lies ahead if you stay true to yourself and never stop moving and learning.”

Sheila says:
“In response to Alex:
You can’t possibly predict anything about feelings that far ahead. You can’t predict next year, let alone decades in advance. 
I am 64 and quite like the label and status of quirkyalone. I’ve a sister, other family, friends and business associates, church community, customers, social media, God (not the least). So I’m not alone.
My husband died a few years ago and I’ve developed and adventured, wept and laughed, played and got myself into messes left right and centre, hated my singleness and aloneness sometimes BUT I would not have it any other way. So there.
love you all.
Sheila x”

Maybe you were asking, will I regret being quirkyalone now if I stay perpetually single?  I want to speak to you if you have this fear. It’s easy to shut down and give up on love because it hurts and it’s fatiguing to be on the lookout for a partner for years when you don’t find someone. This is a fatigue and angst that doesn’t get talked about much! On the other hand, if you really want a deep experience of love  don’t give up. Know it’s possible and maybe you just need to give it time and believe in yourself, your lovability, and your unique path in life.

Sara Eckel (author of the fantastic book It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single) argues that single women are far too likely to berate themselves with criticism to explain why they haven’t found a partner (with messages we pick up like lint from our culture like “you’re too picky, or desperate, or independent”) and I couldn’t agree more.

But I can say sometimes there may be particular reasons why we may find forming trusting, long-lasting healthy relationships challenging, based on who we are and the experiences we’ve had. It’s always time and energy well spent to reflect and do personal growth work to have better relationships. That’s been my story and the story of a number of my clients, and that’s some of the most valuable work you can do in a lifetime: to open yourself up for deeper love. People who have been in long relationships also often need to do healing relationship work–just because you have been in a long relationship doesn’t mean it’s particularly healthy.

Finally, I hear in your question one more question. Will I regret being quirkyalone if I wind up alone when I get to my 70s? Who will take care of me if I’m old and fragile? This is a topic we are going to have to address as a society because so many of us are going to be single in old age, whether we marry or not.  Our society is going to need new models for health care, mutual support, community and caregivers who receive a living wage.

It’s impossible to predict the future. You could meet the love of your life now and he or she could pass in his or her 50s. You could have children who are not suited to be caregivers. I understand wanting to control for the future. Certainly I do. But all we can really do is live and love moment by moment.

I hope these words have been more reassuring than scary as you think about the road ahead. I think avoiding regret is really about honesty and the courage to take risks. If you do cozy up with another human in a long-term relationship, you know you are with your partner because of love and desire, not fear of loneliness or to fulfill societal expectation. In every area of your life, be honest with yourself. Ask yourself what you want. Ask your body what it wants. If you put your heart into your life and relationships (of all kinds, including your relationship with yourself), even if you don’t get exactly what you wanted you will have nothing to regret. We don’t have total control over what happens in life. But if you get clear about what you want and live from your desires rather than fears, there can be no regrets, only lessons learned.

Do you have thoughts or a story for Alex? Please share with us in the comments.

Want more like this? Be sure to sign up for the newsletter.

Introducing Pussywalking! It’s Like Feminism But You Feel It In Your Body

 

One of my guy friends wrote me this week, “OMG, you really put yourself out there! Nicely produced I might add!” Well, he was right. This was a big week for me when I overcame a huge block of fear by releasing the pussywalking videos I’ve been working on for more than a year.

I wrote Jeff back, “Thanks for noticing that! It took me months to get up the courage to share this in Facebook!” He said, “Don’t blame you!” And I said, “Somewhere in this there was a point of no return feeling. Like I am just not a normal person anymore.”

Now I am that woman who launches online pussywalking campaigns, and believe me, that’s a far distance to come for the girl who grew up in Rhode Island, a state where most people never talked about sex out loud. Now I’m publicly associated with using the word “pussy” online and coining the term “pussywalking.”

But hey, if 45 can talk about pussygrabbing, I can talk about pussywalking, right?

So here I am sharing “pussywalking” with you and if we were together in the same room you would see both how uncomfortable and excited I would be to have this conversation.

My own discovery of pussywalking has changed how I walk in the world and now that I am sharing online I hear more diverse and amazing stories about how this helps many different women.

In fact, pussywalking has deep connections with mindfulness, and ancient practices such as yoga, tantra, Chinese medicine, and kundalini. People have long known that the womb region is a huge source of energetic power.

The #metoo movement has now been going on for over a year so this feels like the perfect time to release the pussywalking concept. Pussywalking is a modern way to reclaim your sexual power.

Where Did Pussywalking Come From?

The full story of my discovery of pussywalking is in my memoir-in-progress Wet (in fact there is currently a chapter called “Pussywalking”).

I started my own pussywalking practice back in 2012 and for a long time I used pussywalking in my everyday life when walking around my neighborhood for a mood lift. I started to share the idea here and there with individual women I met at entrepreneurship and storytelling conferences and then with my coaching clients. If I heard a woman’s story and felt she could use the confidence boost of pussywalking I would tell her, “I want to share something with you.”

In the following years I left the Bay Area tech world and transitioned to Buenos Aires to focus on writing my next book, coaching, and the Tango Adventure. Teaching pussywalking in the Tango Adventure felt like a no-brainer (pussywalking is definitely what the best female tango dancers do!) but it still took courage to teach.

In the Tango Goddess workshops, some of the women looked eager, some of them looked deeply uncomfortable as if I had brought up a word we are not supposed to say out loud. It’s not quite acceptable in middle-class culture to speak the word “vagina’–let alone “pussy”!

I took a deep breath and told them my story of discovering the power of the pussywalk on the way to a job interview, and how I found that putting attention on my pussy gave me a confident glow and helped me nail the negotiation and get the job.

“This pussywalk is something any woman can do,” I would explain. “It’s simple. You walk, and put your attention on your center point and see how that affects your walk. Men have their cocky walk. We say that cocky means confident, right? What do women have? We have our pussywalk. But no one tells you to walk with your attention on your vagina.”

Pussywalking–it’s like feminism but you feel it in your body! Every single woman who has learned pussywalking with me looks different to some extent when she does her pussywalk.  Some walk slower. Some have better posture. Some of them look softer, a bit more present. They look more proud of being women.

From Bashful Teacher to  Pussywalking-Evangelist

I was content to share pussywalking in a personal, one-on-one way with those who work with me as clients because hey, I was born in New England. I wasn’t that keen to get on the Internet to talk about pussy-anything. But then along came Cinthia Pacheco.

Cinthia organizes a Women in Business Buenos Aires Meetup and helps women entrepreneurs with marketing. Cinthia came to a Tango Goddess Workshop and she loved pussywalking. She started sending me audio messages on Facebook the next day about how she had shared it with her best friend who lives in Texas and the best friend asked for a YouTube video link, assuming there was one.

Cinthia encouraged me to make a few simple pussywalking videos talking to my iPhone. She really wanted me to spread the gospel of pussywalking to more women. Maybe I would have made the simple videos that but at the time I was getting to know Tan Kurttekin, a brilliant Turkish cinematographer. Tan told me he wanted to do a project with me and we set out to do something more ambitious together.

Tan and I made two pussywalking videos for you over the last year.

What’s the Reception So Far?

In a word, incredible.

I am loving the diversity of the responses so far.

Here’s what one woman Monica wrote me this week, “It’s really good timing Sasha. I have decided to get my breast implants removed hopefully in December. I got them when I was 31 because I felt so self-conscious and unfeminine. Now I am feeling strongly to go back to my small flat chest again.

It’s been a total mindshift and there is part of me that knows I may experience a feeling of loss in some way, however practicing pussywalking before/after surgery may help with this transition. I want to focus on my health and well-being this year. When I was walking by windows on my profile I was focusing on my breasts. Now I can shift that focus elsewhere.”

You can read about other’s women’s experiences with pussywalking on the official page.

I would love for you to share the videos online and with any woman you think will benefit.

How to share:

Three ways, choose yours.

1) Grab the two-minute intro video on my Facebook author page and share it on Facebook

2) Share the video directly from YouTube

3) Of course you can share this post or the newsletter it comes in too!

Next-level Have a pussywalking party and share the video with friends to try out pussywalking together. You’ll see an example of a pussywalking party in the longer video.

Today is a big day because I’m finally releasing these pussywalking videos into the world. I am so nervous/thrilled/don’t-know-what-to-think.

After you try it, share your story with me.

And be sure to sign up for the pussylist to get further instruction and inspiration because although pussywalking is easy it takes practice and encouragement.

Watch here.

Sign up for the pussylist.

Be sure to sign up for this list to get further inspiration, stories of how women use pussywalking and to be part of the pussywalking movement.

Want to learn pussywalking live and in the flesh?

Join us for the next Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires where we teach pussywalking in the Tango Goddess Workshop.

Hold it in your hands: signed, collector’s edition copies of To-Do List magazine

Before moving to Argentina to dance tango and start the Tango Adventure, before becoming a life coach serving my quirkyalone readers, before writing Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, I published and edited a print magazine.

To-Do List was a magazine of meaningful minutiae that published essays, interviews and art using the idea of a to-do list as a jumping-off point to explore the details of modern life.

In anticipation of the first issue I placed an ad in Bitch magazine asking people to send me their to-do lists in the mail.

Much to my surprise, thousands of people took me up on the offer. I discovered the delightful experience of visiting a PO Box in San Francisco, opening the postal box and finding handwritten to-do lists from strangers.

Much like The New Yorker uses cartoons as its signature artwork, To-Do List used handwritten lists. The lists are stories in and of themselves, a snapshot of humanity, wants, dreams, neuroses, obsessions, capacities and incapacities.

To-Do List won Best New Magazine in Utne‘s Alternative Press Awards in 2000 and eventually led to the publication of my second book, To-Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soul Mate: What Our Lists Reveal About Us.

Several fans of the book recently emailed me to ask about getting copies of To-Do List magazine.

We have a limited number of copies of the magazine which we offer now to you as signed, collector’s-edition copies. The longer this “digital revolution” goes on the more I value things I can hold in my hands, especially books and magazines. Maybe you do too!

  • There are very few of these print magazines on the planet and you won’t find these on offer anywhere else. If you’re a collector these are special magazines to collect.
  • I’ll sign the magazine for you and write you a special note! They would make amazing gifts for someone else or yourself. I’ll write a note, just tell me who it’s for in “order notes.”
  • To-Do List is where quirkyalone got started in that first issue, the Love-Anti Love issues. So you will be holding quirkyalone history in your hands.

These limited-edition copies will be mailed out in September 2018. September because I’ll be back in the U.S. in September–so that allows me and my elves to mail them to you that month.

To take advantage of this special offer to get To-Do List magazine order by September 15, 2018.

This offer is only good for U.S. mailing addresses–sorry international readers! (But you can get a Kindle version of the To-Do List book no matter where you live.)

There are very few copies so if this sparks your interest for yourself or as a gift, reserve yours now.

The Hidden Messages of Romantic Obsession

If you read my book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics you may remember the section on R.O., or Romantic Obsession. That part of the book was one of the most fun to write, and one of the most emotionally resonant, or so I heard from readers. It turns out that many of us quirkyalones have fallen into our share of R.O.

Here’s an excerpt to jog your memory: 

“It’s a little-known fact, but quirkyalones, for all their independence, also have a tendency to be swept away when they get close to love. We are passionate, romantic characters, and that click happens so rarely that the search for a partner can take on the character of a holy grail. If you only meet someone who stirs your interest once every two years, this is bound to be an epic event. If things don’t go according to plan, or even if they do, well, this can be difficult. We sometimes plunge into romantic obsession, or R.O.”

You can read the full passage here.

I experienced my first and deepest R.O. 25 years ago when I was in college. So I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on and writing about R.O. (That’s a lot of years!)

Since I launched my coaching practice in 2012 I’ve talked to a lot of women who have fallen into R.O. states for longer than they would like. Many quirkyalone women came to talk with me about a variety of life issues and decisions, but often the pain of the R.O. was the trigger for getting support. They wanted a way out of persistent obsession with someone who had told them in ways, subtle or not, that they were not interested in continuing a relationship.

Since I know R.O. to be a hidden topic for quirkyalones (because after all we seem so self-assured and confident, so not prone to obsession!) I recorded this unscripted video sharing what I have learned from my own R.O.s and helping others . I called the video the Hidden Messages of Romantic Obsession because many years later, I can see that usually an R.O. masks or distracts us from a deeper issue. It’s never really about the person we are obsessing about–it’s about something else for us to heal.

This is a big topic for many of us so if you have thoughts to share please do so in the comments!

P.S. I’ve been making more videos lately. This new twist has happened because I’ve become good friends with a genius Turkish filmmaker and fellow Buenos Aires expat Tan Kurttekin who is helping me make videos about pussywalking. (What the hell is she talking about with pussywalking?)

We will officially release the first PW (pussywalking!) video next week so keep an eye on your inbox for the email! Be sure you are signed up for my newsletter the Sasha Cagen Weeklyish to get it!

You should also subscribe to my YouTube channel to get videos. Whoo-hoo, I am now a YouTuber!

The Outdoor Milongas of Paris

I just got back to Buenos Aires from (and Ireland, and the US!) in time for our next group Tango Adventure–starting this coming Saturday with a fantastic group from the US, Germany/Romania and Australia.

During my travels through the US and Europe, I of course visited tango scenes–especially in Paris. Learning tango has changed the way I travel. Tango came into my life around the same time I discovered I have celiac disease and both discovered changed me; being celiac pushes me to find gluten-free restaurants when I travel and dancing tango pushes me to find milongas! Tango also has given me a way to meet new people wherever I go and also to discover places off the beaten path that I would probably not find otherwise.

On this recent trip to Paris–the second in 9 months–I discovered even more beautiful outdoor milongas so at this point I thought, I just have to wrap all this beauty up in a blog post to share with you. I was inspired by this couple and many more and the creativity of Paris’ tango organizers in reclaiming public space for dance. Oh la la.

Where you dance tango or not, visiting the outdoor milongas of Paris is a treat because tango is mesmerizing to watch and the milongas takes you to these beautiful social scenes. Probably no city has a more beautiful or romantic backdrop for tango.

Here are a few photos to tell you the story of what you might find in Paris if you are as lucky as I was.


An outdoor “milonga illegale” on the Passarelle de Simone de Beauvoir in the summer months. A passarelle is a footbridge. This one was called an illegal milonga because the organizers didn’t have a permit. But there really was no illegal activity, only music, dancing, and a bit of wine.

Milonga on the Quai de Seine by Jardin Tino Rossi (metro: Jussieau). In the summer months people gather along the Seine to dance tango–and also salsa, kizomba, swing and folkloric dance. These dance circles happen every night when it’s nice out. Getting to know the Quai de Seine scene convinced me that Paris turns into an urban paradise in the summer. Again, it doesn’t even matter if you dance. You can just bring wine, cheese, bread, crackers, and sit by the Seine taking in the scene. Eventually you might get pulled into one of the dance cultures.

Similarly in the summer months, and starting in April when the first warm weather of spring begins, people gather to dance by Place Trocadéro by the Eiffel Tower to dance. There are also lots of break-dancing street performers, protests and tourists taking in the Eiffel Tower of course.

The creative milonga orgnanizers of Paris invited people to bring cardboard to this outdoor milonga by the Parc de Belleville. The milonga overlooks a park where you will find many Parisians doing “picnic”–“picnic” is the social activity of the warm months. Down below I also found a group practicing capoeira, the Brazilian martial art-dance. By the Parc de Belleville there are also lots of hipster-chic cafes and bars, including a restaurant that’s 100% gluten-free.

To give credit where credit is due, I knew about many of these beautiful gatherings because my dear Parisian tanguero friend Eric tipped me off. And so now I tip you off too!

I know about these places because my tanguero friends in Paris tip me off but you can also find out about many outdoor tango events on this website: the Argentine Tango Calendar of Paris. It’s not hard to catch one of these beautiful events when the weather is warm. For example, the milongas by the Quais de Seine (by the side of the Seine) happen every night in the summer months by Jardin Tino Rossi.

Our next group Buenos Aires Tango Adventure is May 26-June 1. Of course the outdoor and indoor milongas in Buenos Aires are a thing of beauty too. Once you learn tango with us you will feel more confident and comfortable exploring tango all over the world. Check out all the details on our next Tango Adventure here!